How Art Therapy Tames Impulsivity, Distractibility

Art therapy uses the processes of drawing, painting, and sculpting to help children address emotional problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, and increase self-awareness. Learn how it works for kids with ADHD, autism, and other challenges.


Doing art at home with a parent can calm and focus a child who has had a hard day at school, or finds it difficult to settle down. Here are a few pointers for parents:

> SET THE STAGE.Give your child boundaries when doing art projects. Taping off one section of a large piece of craft paper will sharpen a child's focus. Art trays, on which a child can place all of her materials, are useful. Trays can hold materials, such as paint, clay, and plaster.

> GOOGLE AWAY.Finding simple craft projects is as easy as searching "crafts" and "school-age children."

> KEEP IT SIMPLE AND SHORT.Start with projects that have three or fewer steps (color, cut, glue, for instance). This will increase a child's focus and the chances of his completing the project.

> HAVE KIDS GET UP AND MOVE AROUND.Movement burns excess energy and allows a child to hit the reset button when she is getting bored with a project.

> USE A TIMER.It slows down kids who have a poor sense of time , and who feel the need to rush through a project.

> START WITH MANDALAS.These pre-drawn circles on a piece of paper capture a child's attention. Having a starting point lessens a child's anxiety about what to create when facing a blank paper. Patterned mandala designs are free online.

> JUST COLOR.Coloring is a relaxing, non-threatening activity for children and adults. Remember how calming it was for you in your childhood.


Alternative ADHD Treatment Guide In-depth research and tips about non-medical ADHD treatments such as behavior therapy, working-memory treatment, and omega-3 fatty acids.

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TAGS: Alternative Treatments for ADHD , Learn to Focus with ADHD , ADHD Parents , Self Esteem

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